The ganglion cells of the olfactory nerves are contained in the epithelium lining the upper part of the nasal cavity, and thus, unlike the ganglion cells of other sensory nerves, they are at the surface of the body and therefore in a comparatively vulnerable position. Situated as they are, they are fairly well protected against trauma but are in considerable danger of being destroyed by inflammatory processes in the nasal mucosa. This has been demonstrated in rats.1 It has also been shown that these cells do not regenerate2; hence, the loss of a certain number of olfactory ganglion cells leads to a corresponding and permanent decrease in the number of olfactory nerve fibers. The question is, how commonly and to what extent are these cells and therefore the olfactory nerve fibers destroyed? The answer to this question is not readily available, on account of the practical difficulties involved; e. g.,
SMITH CG. INCIDENCE OF ATROPHY OF THE OLFACTORY NERVES IN MAN. Arch Otolaryngol. 1941;34(3):533–539. doi:10.1001/archotol.1941.00660040573009
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